The UTRGV Campus Food Security Initiative (CFSI) is a unique and innovative model that promotes peer-to-peer engagement and collaboration to address a systemic issue, like food insecurity, by creating easy access to locally grown and sourced fresh produce and plant-powered food. Additionally, this initiative promotes the overarching health benefits of integrating fresh vegetables produced locally, while supporting local farmers. 

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CFSI is a student-centered and student-driven initiative with embedded professional skills development and experiential learning opportunities for students through on-campus employment. Derived from a partnership between higher education and a faith-based organization, this collective effort makes fresh produce and plant-powered food affordable and easily available through a pay-what-you-feel model. The CFSI food research team, under the direction of a highly experienced culinary specialist, experiment and create nutritious and delicious plant-powered food at the CFSI research kitchen.

CFSI Volunteers looking over the garden

Student Engagement and Workforce Development

Interdisciplinary groups of students work collaboratively on developing strategies to promote CFSI activities on social media platforms and engage the campus community meaningfully. Working in a nurturing and goal-oriented work environment provides many opportunities for student employees to hone their soft and technical skills while they are attending college. The 3-tier mentoring approach, where a staff member guides graduate student employees to develop leadership skills while mentoring undergraduate student employees serves their professional development needs at distinct levels.

Student preparing food plates to give to the public Page Banner CFSI Volunteer displaying how to create recipe
CFSI Volunteers smiling as they are giving out free food samples Two CFSI Volunteers setting up their table to give out food samples to the public
CFSI Group working on a recipe together A CFSI volunteer preparing for Iron Chef Competition

Current Scope of CFSI

The ongoing CFSI activities on campus include live food demonstrations, sampling events, fresh produce stands, harvesting events and virtual educational webinars that promote local farmers, locally grown food, meal preparation, and nutrition. Furthermore, CFSI provides opportunities for student organizations to fundraise while promoting sustainable food practices that include harvesting fresh produce to use in the preparation of meals, prepared with support from the CFSI food research team, to be sold on campus the same day to fundraise for their organization.

Sustainable Table Webinar Series

Check out our Sustainable Table weekly series!


Find the Farmers Market Near You!

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Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for their health and the health of the planet.